News ID: 231681
Published: 0448 GMT September 23, 2018

Rate of Americans living with Alzheimer's expected to double by 2060

Rate of Americans living with Alzheimer's expected to double by 2060

As the aging population of the United States grows, a new study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that from 2014 to 2060, there will be a 178-percent increase in the number of Americans who have Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.

That means the US burden is expected to more than double, from 1.6 percent of the population (five million people) in 2014 to nearly 3.3 percent (13.9 million people) in 2060, CNN reported.

The study, published Wednesday in Alzheimer's and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association, was the first to look at race and ethnicity in relation to dementia and its future.

Alzheimer's disease and related dementias are "characterized by a decline in memory leading to loss of independence," the authors wrote.

Symptoms can include memory loss, decline in skills such as word finding and reduced reasoning or judgment, according to the National Institute on Aging.

Treatments include "helping people maintain mental function, manage behavioral symptoms, and slow down certain problems, such as memory loss." It's the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

"Although the primary risk factor for ADRD [Alzheimer's disease and related dementias] is age, race and ethnicity is also an important demographic risk factor," the study noted. "Estimates of ADRD among these subgroups do not exist."

Of the five million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer's or related dementias in 2014, the lowest prevalence was in Asian and Pacific Islanders (8.4 percent) and the highest in African-Americans (13.8 percent).

Among Hispanics, 12.2 percent were diagnosed with these conditions, along with 10.3 percent of whites and 9.1 percent of American Indian and Alaska natives. More women (13.3 percent) than men (9.2 percent) were diagnosed in 2014.

Non-Hispanic whites have the highest number of cases because of the size of the population, but Hispanics are facing the highest projected increase. Diagnoses in whites are expected to plateau around 2030, but the number of cases in other populations will continue to grow, the study found.

To find their projections, researchers combined the compared numbers of Alzheimer's and related dementias in 2014 Medicare recipients with US Census Bureau projection data.

The authors also highlight that, due to projected growth, caregivers of those living with dementia will need support and that "culturally competent care for these groups will be of paramount importance."

They state that having this workforce will help improve early recognition signs of the disease and assist those with it.

Kevin Matthews, lead author of the study and a health geographer with the CDC's Division of Population Health in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, said, "It is important for people who think their daily lives are impacted by memory loss to discuss these concerns with a health care provider. An early assessment and diagnosis is key to planning for their health care needs, including long-term services and supports, as the disease progresses."


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